Monday, July 11, 2011

Gender-inappropriate pants

When Bun Bun wears clothes at all, she's mainly been wearing stuff I inherited from a friend who had a boy. The first time we put her in a pair of blue pants, Mr. Bunny sang the following spontaneous little song:

Gender-inappropriate pants!
Everyone's gonna think you're a boy.

And you won't get into a good college,
All because of your gender-inappropriate pants.

It's better with the music.

Now that we've taken her out in public, she has in fact been mistaken for a boy many times. I don't care a bit. I mean, maybe I care a tiny bit because I worry that the mistaken person will be embarrassed, but I am not offended or horrified or anything. And who knows--perhaps being mistaken for a boy will end up working in her favor. People will be like, Oh, what a cute baby! I'm going to pay him an equitable salary! And when they find out she's a girl it will be TOO LATE and she'll earn earn, like, 25% more than the other girl babies.

I'm not sure how much I care about the whole gender socialization thing, and I'm certainly not claiming there's anything wrong with covering a girl baby in pink bows, so if that's how you roll, don't take any of this as a criticism. But I did notice that the first time I put her in something girly (a lavender onesie from her grandmother), it felt kinda...weird. Like I was suddenly hyper-aware of her girlishness, whereas before she'd just been a person.

On the other hand...I went to the fabric store and came home with THIS.

Because, you know...CUTE! (I am at least planning to make it in blue. But that's just because I happen to like blue and therefore have a lot of blue fabric lying around.)

Not going to be mistaken for a boy in that.

So while I think about how to make sure her sex doesn't limit her (or minimize the extent to which it does), I've come up with an interim compromise. When I find myself cooing things I might not also say to a boy, like you're so sweeeeeeeet! Or you're so preeeeeetty! I'm careful to add And you're so stroooong! You're so raaaational! You're sooooo good at maaaaaath!


  1. haha, i love this post. My favorite colors are blue and green. I wear them way more often than pink and purple. I'm sure I would have dressed a girl that way too, horrifying the general public.

    And I tell my baby boy he's sweet. Perhaps I should start adding in pretty, too :-)

    Hope you post a pic of your finished blue dress for bun bun.

  2. ALL of the clothes I have for Wink so far are hand-me-downs from a very girly friend-of-a-friend. So, of course, when I pull out the lint trap after washing this stuff, it is BRIGHT pink. I, too, feel weird about dressing my daughter all in girly clothing. If I was buying everything on my own, she'd mostly be wearing white onesies and other gender neutral clothing. Oh well...

  3. I love this post - just great! I have a feeling I will be the same way with my little girl. And the affirmations about being good at math - love it!!!

  4. I always told Bug how pretty he was. And I call him sweetie-pie.

  5. Toddlerina got boy all the time too. I think I dressed her in greens and yellows - lots of blue too. Ah, well. I too only felt funny for the other person, I finally just stopped correcting them.

    You have been on my mind. I pulled my first green pepper out of the garden yesterday. Actually, Toddlerina pulled it off and started to eat it like an apple before I could stop her. I thought my heart would EXPLODE with my fertile ways.

    I am HOOKED... just tell me how to legally maim deer that wander into the yard. Bitches. Bitches and their hungry babies. Eating my stuff.

  6. Arlo is repeatedly mistaken for a girl even when he's wearing brown & blue. I could understand it in the beginning when all we had was neutral clothing...but now I'm all whaaaaa?

  7. I could dress Mac in pink and people would think one of two things: that's an ugly girl baby or why is that boy dressed in pink. Either way, no matter.

    I love the gender neutral approach though. Go Bun Bun!

    Except when it goes a little too far. Like this maybe? Kind of a cool experiment but really confusing for the average bear.

  8. Isaac has so much hair that everyone assumes he must be a girl! Most people will ask though, not just blurt out how pretty "she" is.
    We have 4 pink cloth diapers that are in the rotation - I've apologized to him when I put them on and promised to never dress him in those when we go out, but I actually think they look good with his skin tone :).
    I always liked blue on girls. I was such a tomboy though...

  9. This is an awesome post. I've also thought about the differences in the things we tend to be drawn to say to boy and girl babies. Who really, most likely, are just baby-y more than gendered in much of any way. I've also thought about the colors of your onesie (almost done, honest!). I embroidered the words in pink bows--is that cool?

  10. Wait. Rational? Boys are rational? Dude, I got the short straw....

  11. You always make me smile! ;)

  12. The very hilarious, very Greek professor who taught Applied Developmental Psychology when I did my MA would say that it don't matter how you dress a kid, or what toys you have around: the sex-typing is genetic. She had obviously chosen the nature side of the ol debate, although in her later years appeared more to get with the times and see that it's BOTH. Personally, I think Bun Bun is SO cute and SO strong that she deserves a 45% raise on all other babies. She can also help her mama stress less about grant monies and research by raking in the cash.

  13. Honey gets called a boy all the time. EVEN WHEN I PUT HER IN PINK AND/OR DRESSES!!! hahaha. But I hear you on this. The frilly girl stuff that's out there is pretty ridic, not my style either. xoxo

  14. Very cute! I am bucking the trend here, my be-be is very boyish looking. Good he is one I guess. We call him Mr. Man cause he's SO boyish!

  15. Oh what? My comment has been gobbled?
    I don't know if I can reproduce my pearls of wisdom.

    Very interesting post, I think I said. And have you read about that Canadian child called Storm (or something. Cloud, maybe.) whose gender is a secret to all except the parents, and who is referred to as "zee", not he or she?

    Alas, I am sorry I have not been commenting much of late. Smokey=brain=melty. You know how it is. However, I will return when the post-Smokey Golden Age comes. Be well, bunnies.

  16. I've been struck by how many people first call DJ pretty and then correct themselves and say "handsome." He's 5 months old for chrissakes, and, he IS pretty. Reading your post, I'm inspired to start cooing, "You're so empatheeeetic! You know where eeeeeverything is!"

  17. Oh we are conditioned pretty heavily on these matters. I have to admit, I'm not into pink but I LOVE looking at little girl stuff on Etsy. I'm pretty sure I would become a sewing maniac if I had a girl.

    You're approach sounds like a good one. It reminds me of this post I saw recently:

  18. What's funny about it is how much adults are attuned to this, and how little babies care. We keep hearing, "Oh, I'd love to give you our old baby clothes but, you know, we had a girl..."

    I think at a point that genderization comes on like a juggernaut. Anything you can do to stave it off? Amen to that.